• Vendor Spotlight

    Vendor Spotlight: Cellist Ryan Smith

    Have you ever pictured what kind of music you’ll be walking down the aisle to? Or what will be playing at your reception before your grand entrance? Whether you envision something classy and elegant or upbeat and fun, Ryan Smith is the man for the job. “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys? “Fools Rush In” Elvis? John Legend? The Beatles? Ryan Smith can do it all. (Click here to listen to a few popular choices.)

    We had the pleasure of meeting Ryan at our Traveling Trunk Show and we immediately fell in love with his music. You’re probably thinking, “how does a one man band have such a broad repertoire?” Ryan, actually uses accompaniment music to complement his live cello. And guess what? He makes all the accompaniment music too. If that’s not talent!

    Aside from being an incredible musician, Ryan is also super personable, charming and fun to be around. He kept us laughing the whole time as he fulfilled all of our crazy requests. Some of which included, Led Zeppelin and “Africa” by Toto. The genuine excitement and passion written all over his face as he plays, speaks for itself.

    Below you can find a little more insight on Ryan Smith, our favorite cellist.

    How long have you been a musician?
    25 years 

    What services do you offer?
    Solo cello or cello with accompaniments for weddings and reception (cocktail hour or dinner.) Surprise engagements are also available – I would love to provide the soundtrack to such an amazing moment, especially if I was heard but not seen. Would be so fun!

    What got you started in the industry? 
    I started playing weddings starting in middle school, in the mid-1990s, as our orchestra teacher’s string quartet was comprised of students. He set a great example of professionalism, focus, and reverence. As an adult, I played in a violin/cello wedding duo while living in Florida, and we had a fun time occasionally playing Traditional music. Still working in my corporate job, I posted an ad on Craigslist for solo cello for weddings. I was taken by the magic of weddings, and the music was a total success! 
    In 2017, I left my career to go full-time as a cello soloist for weddings back in my home state and my college town, Albuquerque. 

    What does Ryan like to do in his spare time? Hobbies, interests?

    I’m a big fan of stand-up comedy and theater, and hanging out in a brewery for a beer or two, especially if there is music happening. My other love is nature. I often go to the Rio Grande to relax and take in the beauty, it’s like a sanctuary to me. And I camp all over the state, enjoying scenery of deserts and mountains and hot springs! 

    What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
    To hear from couples the joy and beauty they experienced in one of their biggest lifetime moments speaks to the very magic of music. It’s humbling and incredible to be a music maker. It’s rewarding to see their smiles! 

    Can you recall a time when you had a chaotic event? If so, how did you get through it?
    Years ago, I was playing cello in a garden for a backyard party. I had a book of music and the wind starting randomly turning pages every 10 seconds or so. It’s all about staying calm and staying with the music; even if you have to improvise. Also, plenty of music clips are important outdoors. Today: I have a standard equipment bag I take everywhere. Music clips for windy days, a stand light for darkness, an extra bow, strings, and many more backup plans. Everything has gone as planned so far, but preparation is key, especially for a soloist.

    To what do you attribute your success?
    My musical experience with different instruments and genres for 25 years and bachelors degree in music (classical cello) from UNM are foundational to my “can play just about any kind of music” scenario. 
    What I think has really connected is my genuine desire to provide a customized and friendly service, with elegant music that has emotional and romantic depth. Also, offering gift music (explained in detail on my website) really completes the picture of my business: the music I play is chosen especially for each wedding and my true desire is to bring music that my clients will always remember.  I hope that I am putting the iPod out of business one wedding a time!

    What sets you apart from others in your area of business?

    Playing an instrument over accompaniment tracks was obviously not my idea, but I’ve never seen it done for weddings. The variety of sounds this enables sets me apart from a fully-live ensemble. (Harps, pianos, guitars, organs, marimbas, orchestras, and many more). My style of performing popular songs on cello has only a few influences from other string players who are doing this, and I feel it is often more understated than typically heard. My influences are singers like Adele and Eddie Vedder who tend to perform with a wide range of power and loudness. I think it lends itself well to the emotions of weddings, for both guests and the couple. The music breathes. Lastly, all of my arrangements are original and accompaniments are crafted in my studio.

    If someone were wanting to book you for their special day, how far in advance would they have to do it?

    A full year is the best bet, and I’m booking thru 2020. With many people booking musicians later in the planning process, I still have many openings in 2019, so check with me if interested! 

    Are you flexible with traveling for a wedding?
    I love to travel. I’m based in Albuquerque so I’ve set up pricing where central New Mexico (Abq/SF) is free, and gas reimbursement rates apply further out of town. Las Cruces is $100, Taos is $75. 

    What are the most requested songs?

    Perfect, All of Me, I can’t help falling in love, hallelujah

    What has been your most “out of the box” request?

    Not one but two songs to be specially made for dogs walking into the wedding. The cutest Pomeranian I’ve ever seen walked in to Eye of the Tiger and a regal Shiba Inu walked in to I Wear My Sunglasses at Night. They were both my arrangements/recordings resembling full rock/dance bands, a departure from my norm for weddings. It was a super silly moment in the middle of an otherwise highly reverent and magical outdoor wedding. 

    Any tips or advice you would give to a bride and groom when in search of a musician for their wedding?

    I would recommend first deciding on what style they want, which may be Classical or popular songs, or maybe a few Traditional songs. There are many great instruments for a wedding, I would say: pick your favorite! Also, I would suggest deciding if they have any song(s) they definitely want, and determine if the musician knows it or will learn it. I would recommend lastly finding a musician who plays with a passion and excitement that you feel when you hear the music. The genuine involvement will bring more life to your wedding from the moment your guests start arriving.

    So, if you’re looking for a musician that will go above and beyond to plan, create, and perform the perfect compilation for your special day, Ryan Smith is the man for the job!

    For booking and inquiries:

    Email: ryansmithcellomusic@gmail.com

    Phone Number: (505) 274-0814

    Instagram: rsmithcellomusic

  • Vendor Spotlight

    Vendor Spotlight: Perfect on Paper

    Oasis, Ed Sheeran, The Cranberries, Chris Isaak, The Neighborhood, The Cure….. We could go on and on… but if any of these bands have caught your attention, then Perfect on Paper might be perfect for you. This dynamic quartet has an eclectic mix of genres in their repertoire that is sure to make your wedding or special event a hit with all of your guests whether it be just for cocktail hour or the whole evening! We caught up with the guys to gain a little bit more insight on the method behind the music. 

    Let’s meet the band!

    James Cordova- vocals/guitar

    Robert Trujillo- guitar/vocals

    Michael Trujillo- percussion/vocals

    Ruben Del Valle- bass/vocals

    How long have you been in business?

    The band Perfect on Paper was formed in late 2007. A few members have changed since, but we are going on 3 plus years with our current band members.

    Are you willing to learn special songs for clients?


    What got you started in the industry?

    Music runs in all of our family. Sometimes when it is in your blood, you have no choice but to make it happen.

    What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

    The ladies…. just kidding, that doesn’t happen. Music is a feel good kind of thing. Sometimes it’s good to know that you bring emotion into somebodies day.

    To what do you attribute your success?

    Teamwork. A group is only as good as the ones around them. James has the talent, Robert has the charisma, Mike has the good looks, and Ruben, well we keep him around because we have to.

    What sets you apart from others in your area of business?

    Versatility is a forte with us. We will play anything from a small room in a winery all the way to a park stage.

    As you can see, they also have a sense of humor which is always a plus when entertaining guests. Not only do they play different types of venues around town, but they travel too.

    Want to get a feel for their style? They’ll be playing at the Pecan Grill for New Year’s Eve from 9-Midnight.

    For booking information and to follow their whereabouts, check them out on Facebook

  • Renee's Bridal,  Vendor Spotlight

    Vendor Spotlight: Chris Baker Band

    Some of the best memories are made on the dance floor. Music sets the mood, it makes people connect, laugh, cry, and dance the night away. This month we are featuring singer/songwriter and recording artist, Chris Baker. Your very own, Las Cruces “local celebrity” has been performing for a decade as a solo artist, but also can be found playing with his four man band at a variety of shows and special events. You can listen to his latest album “How Lucky I Am” here.

    Below Chris answered a few questions giving us all a little more insight!
    How long have you been in business?
    I’ve been playing weddings and special events for about 10 years now and each one has been different than the last. I believe each particular wedding should and can be special and specific to the needs of the bride and groom.
    Are you willing to learn special songs for clients?
    Yes most definitely, I’m always happy to learn and play songs for the ceremony or special moments/dances. This can give a different and more intimate feel rather than simply playing the original track.
    What services do you offer?
    I can provide music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and reception. This includes live music as well as DJ services. I provide my own sound system as well as microphones for the ceremony and/or speeches. I also can be the Emcee for the evening moving each important event throughout the evening.
    What got you started in the industry?
    I’ve been performing around the Southwest for over a decade. During college I would play as a hobby and came to realize how much passion I had for music and decided to pursue it as a full time career. As far as weddings, I began playing for friend’s weddings and realized that I have a knack for those and other similar types of events.
    What do you do in your free time when you are not working on your business?
    Honestly much of my free time is spent on other aspects of my business such as recording, booking, and that sort of thing. But I do love the outdoors and doing things like hiking, camping and traveling.
    What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
    The people most definitely. I love the amazing people that I get to meet on a weekly basis.
    To what do you attribute your success?
    I tell others in the industry all the time that having good people skills can matter more than talent. I try to make relationships with people everywhere that I go and I believe that is a huge contributor to where I’ve gotten in my career. Plus being reliable, prompt and professional no matter the setting.
    What sets you apart from others in your area of business?
    My ability to be somewhat of a chameleon. I can adapt to the needs of a multitude of types of events, venues, and settings. I’ve had so many experiences so I can adapt to the specific needs of just about any situation.
    Do you only work locally?
    No in fact this year alone I have played weddings in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. I have played as far West as San Francisco and as far east as Nashville. I’d be happy to travel just about anywhere that is needed.
    Any tips or advice you would give to a bride and groom when in search of live musicians?
    Find someone that is willing and able to provide exactly what you need. You don’t want to have to worry about a single detail on your big day and it’s important to know as the musician/DJ that your job is to keep things upbeat and moving. I like to have multiple conversations beforehand so that all of the music that will be played is pre-approved by the bride and groom. Some weddings want mostly country and some want none, for example. Make sure that the musician knows and is willing to make the playlist and the evening perfect for your specific desires.

    Aside from being an amazing musician, Chris is versatile, positive, charming, and genuinely cares about his clients. His years of experience in the industry can assure you that he will prioritize your special day and relieve the stress of entertainment, leaving you with priceless memories to share with your loved ones.

    Make sure to follow him on Instagram and for booking and inquiries you can contact him here:



  • Renee's Bridal,  Vendor Spotlight

    Vendor Spotlight: Letters and Such

    This month’s spotlight shines on the very amazing Adriana! She is the owner and creator of Letters and Such; a custom calligraphy and hand lettering business based out of Las Cruces, New Mexico. We had the pleasure of interviewing this busy mompreneur in hopes of giving everyone a little more insight into this amazing business that is quickly growing and becoming the town’s fascination.

    Tell us about yourself!

    Hi! I’m Adriana! I’m a wife, mom, calligrapher, and entrepreneur. I spend most of my time hanging out with my husband and three kids, running my business, Letters and Such, trying to figure out what to make for dinner and wondering if it’s too late for coffee or too early for wine.

    How long have you been in business?

     I started my business about one year ago.

    What services do you offer?

    I offer custom calligraphy and hand lettering services. Common requests include custom signs, envelope addressing, home decor items, personalized gifts and favors etc. I can work with almost any medium, paper, chalkboard, wood, glass, acrylic, canvas etc. I work with my clients to create custom pieces that meets their needs. I’m always open to new ideas. I really want for my clients to get what they want, how they want it!

    What got you started in the industry?

    I stumbled upon a calligraphy video on Instagram. It grabbed my attention so I started teaching myself calligraphy with my kids’ Crayola markers. I practiced every day just as a fun hobby. I fell in love and I knew this is what I wanted to do! Eventually I worked up the courage to put myself out there and do calligraphy professionally.

    What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

    I absolutely love what I do. I could do calligraphy every day just for myself and be happy. But the really rewarding part is sharing it with people. Getting to work with my clients to put something beautiful together that I couldn’t have thought of on my own is really special to me. Calligraphy makes me happy and when I can make someone else happy by sharing my calligraphy with them it feels like magic.

    Any unusual/unique requests you’ve gotten?

    Lettering on cactus! I’ve lettered place cards and even food and drink menus on cactus paddles. Super fun, a little dangerous and totally worth it!

    Being a mompreneur, how do you achieve work-life balance?

    Work-life balance is just a constant work in progress for me, like most things in life. It really helps that my family are my number one fans and supporters. I feel really thankful and fortunate that I get to be a stay home mom and have a job I love with a flexible schedule. A flexible work schedule also means an unsteady work schedule. Sometimes it means staying up really late, or asking for a little extra help with the kids to make sure a project is complete on time. Sometimes it means putting social media and emails on hold to make sure I’m conversing with my family during dinner, and reading the kids their bedtime stories. I just take it a day at a time and try my best. It’s not always perfect but at the end of the day, every day my family is my priority.

    To what do you attribute your success?

    Practice, passion and extremely kind and supportive people! I’m forever thankful for the help and encouragement I’ve received from my family, friends, and other local entrepreneurs I’ve met. I’ve been truly amazed by the people I have met through my calligraphy and business adventures. The support and encouragement I’ve received has meant so much to me. Kindness goes such a long way!

    If someone were wanting to book your business for their special day, how far in advance would they have to do it?

    I definitely encourage clients to contact me and book as soon as possible. Every project is different so some simpler ones can be completed in a few weeks while others can take several months.

    What are few things you like to do for yourself on your free time?

    Even in my free time I would still do calligraphy for fun or any kind of arts and crafts. I’d love to take a painting or watercolor class. I really enjoy anything that involves spending quality time with friends and family. Usually free time for me is at night after the kids are in bed. I spend that bit of time doing things like, catching up on work, hanging out with my husband, watching the bachelor and drinking wine or micheladas for sure!

    Any words of advice for other women wanting to start their own business?

    Just go for it! Yes, do your research and have a plan. But the timing or the situation will never be perfect. Let your love and passion for what you do show. Find people who share common interests. Talk about it. Tell people about your dreams, say them out loud. You can do it! I believe in you already!

    Below you can admire her work:

    This must be the crazy cactus request!

    We get to watch Adriana first hand as she’s working her mompreneur magic. She’ll walk in the store with her three beautiful babies ready for consultations. Her children are extremely polite as if they know they are here to support their momma as she does her thing. Having your own business is one thing but doing so while raising a family requires a {strong} support system, self motivation, confidence, multitasking par excellence, and the undying spirit to nurture despite all the curveballs life throws at you. For this, we commend Adriana for all she does and only wish her the absolute best on her growing business!

    Contact Info: 

    Instagram: @letters_and_such

    For business inquiries: lettersandsuch@hotmail.com

  • Vendor Spotlight

    Vendor Spotlight: Southwest Creative Co.

    We are thrilled to share with you some of our favorite vendors composed of wedding photographers, venues, hair and makeup, videographers and many more!

    This month we are featuring one of favorites in wedding photography: Southwest Creative Company. Bianca Padilla and Anthony Quiterio make up this perfect little duo behind the lense. They have been telling stories with their beautiful natural light photography {officially} for 2 years now, but have been capturing special moments for over 5 years. Sure, they are known for their lovely couple photography but their services go beyond that. Some of the other services they offer include: Photography, Videography, Graphic Design, Web Design & Social Media Management.

    We decided to ask Bianca and Anthony a few questions to get a deeper insight on how these adventurous storytellers have become successful in doing what they love and having others love what they do.

    • What got you started in the industry?  Our love for capturing love! We love shooting family sessions and commercial work but there is something super special about photographing love.
    • What do you guys do on your free time when you are not working on your business? Traveling is our biggest hobby! Whenever we have a free weekend we rarely stay in town.
    • What is the most rewarding part of what you do? Being able to supply our couples with memories them & their family will have forever!
    • Can you recall a time when you had a chaotic event? If so, how did you get through it? Most wedding days are sprinkled with chaos, but for us we just try to concentrate on what needs to be done and work though it instead of getting caught up in the stress of the moment.
    • To what do you attribute your success? A positive mindset and surrounding yourself with people who support you & your business!
    • What sets you apart from others in your area of business? We are HUGE on candid and do very little posing with our couples. Most of our couples aren’t models and we don’t want you to pretend to be. We want your reactions, laughs and smiles all to be real and genuine. We want the, to be authentic to who you are and your love together. We love having fun with our couples and “games” we play during our sessions to take your mind off getting your photo taken and make you laugh and smile without feeling awkward or like you’re trying to model for us.
    • If someone were wanting to book your business for their special day, how far in advance would they have to do it? We recommend booking us at least a year in advance.
    • Are you flexible with traveling for a wedding? We LOVE traveling for weddings! We will go anywhere & everywhere with our clients. The more adventurous the better!
    • What trends have you seen in weddings lately? Lately we’ve been seeing lots of geometric shapes, cute little plants given away as guest favors, and custom wedding hashtags!
    • Any tips or advice you would give to a bride and groom when in search of a photographer/videographer? Be sure to ask the right questions. Make sure you know how many hours they will be there, how many images to expect, when you’ll receive them, if they include prints, or how long the video will be. Also be sure you dig their style! Every photographer & videographer has their own way of capturing & coloring your day. Be sure your style syncs with theirs!

    Below are a few of their favorite shots

    Their work is unlike anything else! Therefore, it is easy to spot a SWCC photo. From their lighting to their overall technique, Southwest Creative Co. creates remarkable pictures that will live with friends and families forever.

    If you haven’t yet, make sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and give their site a visit!